Los Angeles Times

Homeless veteran is killed

Violence marks second killing at West L.A. encampment in past six months.

- By Richard Winton and Dakota Smith

Encampment outside West L.A. VA facility is the scene of second homicide in six months.

A veteran living in a homeless encampment in West Los Angeles was stabbed to death early Wednesday, officials said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s detectives arrested another unhoused man in connection with the attack, which occurred about 6:30 a.m. in the 11600 block of San Vicente Boulevard in an unincorpor­ated area near Brentwood.

Deputies responding to calls of a stabbing found a man badly wounded. Paramedics took the man to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The victim’s name has not been released. Law enforcemen­t sources said the man was stabbed by another man who lived in the encampment after he interceded in a domestic dispute involving his assailant.

GemBob Brookhyser, who lives with his girlfriend in a tent near the one of the man who was killed, said he called 911 early Wednesday.

“I woke up to the screams,” said Brookhyser, who watched as sheriff’s deputies walked up and down San Vicente Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon.

Yellow tape lined the street. A wheelchair, said to be owned by the man who was killed, was propped up against the curb.

Brookhyser said his girlfriend wouldn’t let him leave their tent to investigat­e because she was worried.

Julian Saucedo, who also lives in a tent on San Vicente Boulevard, said fights over property aren’t uncommon. “There’s definitely violence,” he said. “It happens in an instant.”

The encampment is outside the West L.A. Veterans Affairs facilities. Dozens of veterans live at the encampment, sometimes called Veterans Row, where some tents are decorated with U.S. flags.

Inside the Veterans Affairs campus is a sanctioned camping site, as well as other types of shelter.

Last month, the county and Sheriff’s Department cleaned up the street, but they did not relocate the homeless population.

It is the second homicide connected with the encampment in the past six months. In April, Pedro Flores, 34, was arrested on suspicion of murder and assault with a deadly weapon after he ran over another person living in the encampment. Flores allegedly dragged the man’s body 200 yards under his vehicle.

Just a month before, a car careened through the encampment, injuring three people.

City Atty. Mike Feuer, who is running for mayor, held a media briefing Wednesday afternoon across the street from the encampment and called on county officials to remove the tents and shelter the veterans who live there. The area where the stabbing occurred is within Los Angeles County, not the city.

“It is time for there to be action. It is time for this encampment to end,” Feuer said. “For its residents to be housed, for the sidewalks to be clear.”

Feuer also suggested those living on the street could find resources inside the campus. But it’s not clear if everyone living on San Vicente Boulevard would be eligible to live there.

Feuer also laid out his vision for tackling the city’s homelessne­ss crisis, saying he would declare a state of emergency that would allow the city to commandeer private property for shelter.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his homeless outreach team was assessing the camp. A spokespers­on for Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who represents the area, declined to comment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States